June 25, 2024

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5 Revelations from the Podcast – Billboard

8 min read

In her new podcast, the revealing En Boca Cerrada: Lo Que Nunca Se Nunca Se Dicho Sobre El Caso Trevi-Andrade, María Raquenel Portillo (formerly known as Mary Boquitas) tells her story for the first time about the teenage sex cult that shocked the world in the ’90s.

For those who do not remember the case and its protagonists, Portillo — who eventually had a brief career as a singer and actress — was married to Sergio Andrade, the manager, producer and artist promoter who “discovered” Gloria Trevi in the late ’80s and was instrumental in her stardom. But Andrade was later indicted and jailed on sordid charges of corruption of minors, as were Trevi and Portillo, who were later exonerated of all charges against them.

Portillo, however, continued to be singled out by many as an accomplice in the case. Now, for the first time, she details her life with the disgraced Mexican hitmaker, and the changing relationship they had over the years: teacher and student, husband and wife, divorced couple, boss and employee, manager and artist, and master and maid.

Portillo would share with Trevi her husband, the world stage and, later, a prison cell. Billboard Español contacted Trevi’s representatives for comment on the podcast, but received no response. Trevi was acquitted of all charges against her in 2004 and has repeatedly said that she too was a victim of abuse. For his part, Andrade has not commented on the case. He received a sentence of 7 years and 10 months in prison, and was released in 2007.

Produced by Uforia and Pitaya Entertainment, the first season of En Boca Cerrada reveals heartbreaking details about the disturbing case, reminiscent of the Jeffrey Epstein and R. Kelly scandals. The presenter alleges that she was brainwashed into marrying Andrade in the mid-’80s when she was only 15 years old; he was twice her age. She also claims to be the first victim of the Trevi-Andrade clan. 

“There is no definite time to tell a story. However before I did it was vital to heal my wounds, get my life back and have the strength to make it happen,” she tells Billboard Español 19 years after being acquitted of charges of corruption of minors. “God’s timing so perfectly aligned with mine and the opportunity came so clearly and precisely.” The presenter invites journalist María García, psychologist Francia Piña, Rubén Aviña, author of the book Aline: La Gloria por el Infierno, her mother, her sister and more people who bring their own knowledge and experiences about the case.

“In the first recordings I swear I almost regretted it — because they say that to remember is to live again,” she continues. “Through my emotions at the time, I discovered how I really went through this and was able to tolerate it.”

According to a press release, in its first week En Boca Cerrada was the most listened to Spanish-language podcast in the U.S., reaching No. 52 on Spotify’s Top Podcasts list, while in Mexico it reached No. 1 on both Spotify and Apple.

While stunningly entertaining, the uncensored podcast ultimately serves as a cautionary tale, a deep dive into the lurid world of a serial child molester and those unfortunate enough to cross his path, in the voice of one of the survivors. Here are five revelations from En Boca Cerrada.

The Tactics of a Child Molester

Over the course of ten chapters, the host reveals increasingly atrocious scenarios. Portillo does not hold back when talking about the warning signs that were present from the beginning, but that neither she nor her family saw. From their first meeting, she describes how Andrade made her wait hours for his appointments, when the then-respected producer had scheduled her for a casting at 4:00 p.m. and was not seen until midnight. According to Portillo, it was a tactic Andrade used to detect his prey and see how far a potential victim and her family were willing to go for the mere possibility of having a better life. 

When he formed the all-girl teen group Boquitas Pintadas, Portillo says the girls were not allowed to talk or “gossip” with each other. He reinforced manipulation with extreme jealousy, tender words, long rehearsal days and tons of gaslighting. The gang of five later grew into dozens of aspiring artists who adored and idolized Gloria Trevi’s star power (who was considered the Mexican Madonna and the biggest pop star in Mexico and beyond) and Andrade’s star-making gift. He made the girls believe were all his family, according to Portillo, but instead they “were all one in his eyes,” she says in the podcast.

With the help of his guests, Portillo reveals the profile of an antisocial narcissist, who exercised absolute power over weak victims. He did not foresee consequences or take responsibility, and constantly blamed the girls for the slightest thing, even for eating a can of tuna without permission. “Please sir,” “thank you sir,” and “I’m sorry sir” were a must at the end of every sentence, the narrator says. 

“If I Can’t Marry Her, I Will Steal Her”

Portillo says that when she was 14 years old, Andrade began to ask her to marry him. When her parents discovered that their daughter was in love with the producer, he assured them that it was something platonic and fleeting. When the relationship became more serious, Andrade responded to her parents by saying that they also married young. “Yes, but Pepe (Raquenel’s father) was also a child and not a grown man,” exclaimed her mother. “If I can’t marry her, I will steal her. You choose,” Andrade threatened her, something that was not uncommon in rural Mexico at the time. Portillo was about to turn fifteen. Her parents threw her a quinceañera — without chambelanes, at Andrade’s request — in hopes that their daughter would change her mind. It didn’t happen.

Portillo explains that in her time almost all women aspired to marry and raise a family. And rather than to marry a person of lower economic status, Andrade convinced her parents that the only way for their daughter to succeed was to marry a well-positioned man like himself. That, coupled with religion to enforce obedience, became a dangerous mix — because “this man felt he was God,” Portillo says in the podcast.

Normal or Normalized?

“Everything Sergio said sounded logical… that was his power,” Portillo says in the podcast. Andrade had absolute control over his victims because he made sure it was so. The day of their marriage ended their romantic phase and the violence began, according to Portillo. The narrator says she was violently, physically and sexually assaulted on her wedding night. After punching her, he allegedly fondled her and raped her. “I’m doing it for your sake so you’ll be perfect,” he often told her, she recounts. Wired beatings accompanied by sex became the norm for her and other victims, she says.

When she was still a teenager, Portillo became pregnant and he arranged her abortion without her knowledge, she says, a procedure she believes left her sterile for life. “One is taught that love can do anything and that for love everything is endured,” she tells Billboard Español. “In any type of love relationship where you don’t immediately identify a red flag… that’s where the dangerous thing happens, when we love for love, out of affection or compassion and we put up with [abuse] over and over again. And suddenly these types of relationships become addictive. Addiction is co-dependence on something that even though you know it’s wrong, you’re there.”

Andrade was untouchable, Portillo says, noting that people who knew of his misconduct remained silent, including famed television host Raul Velazco, who died in 2006. Velazco was never accused of misconduct or linked to Andrade. Somehow, says the narrator, the disgraced producer — who years later was convicted — managed to normalize the most atrocious behavior.

Gloria Trevi’s Feminist Rebellion

Gloria Trevi was Sergio Andrade’s golden goose, says Portillo in episode 8, “El fenómeno Trevi, un anzuelo perfecto” (or “The Trevi Phenomenon, a Perfect Hook”). She says that the “Pelo Suelto” singer’s success was rewarded with privileges such as eating at fancy restaurants (with the help of the superstar’s hard earned money) that the other girls didn’t have access to, even though many were part of Trevi’s team — Portillo was her backup singer. She also alleges that Trevi’s gigantic hair was not her idea but Andrade’s — allegedly, she liked to keep her hair very neat — as well as her famous ripped pantyhose and sensationalist statements to the press, like how she would run for the presidency. Her feminist artistic rebellion, shockingly, was masterminded by her abuser, according to the podcaster. 

The Hierarchy of “The Favorites”

Being among the producer’s “favorites” was something the girls in the clan aspired to — they all wanted to be at the top of the chain, and the younger they were, the more likely they were to get it, according to Portillo. Under Andrade’s control, the 12- and 13-year-olds were “easier” to mold for “maximum results,” while the older ones (18 and up) had a shorter lifespan within the clan, which kept them away from him and the possibility of stardom. Being a favorite, however, did not exclude the girls from physical punishment, Portillo says, but guaranteed them a better standing before the master and occasional small luxuries: a better meal and a couple of compliments. 

For most of her two decades with the clan, Mary Boquitas stayed lower on the list of favorites because of her growing age, she says. She was, however, the most loyal, and while that didn’t earn her special treatment, it did earn her Andrade’s trust, a relationship she says she’s not proud of.

Gloria Trevi, however, “was never just one more, she wasn’t like the rest, like them or like me. Without denying that Gloria was not 100 percent free, we all knew that when the time came she would sit down to propose punishments with the teacher, or make decisions that would make it clear that she was not just one more,” narrates Portillo in episode 10. Andrade knew how to manipulate each of the girls to provoke distrust among them, the narrator continues, comparing the dynamics to a reality show, to awaken that pressing need to please him and be able to climb a place in his ranking.

Portillo mentions the National Human Trafficking Hotline at the end of each episode. If you are at risk or know someone who may be, call 1-888-373-7888, or visit https://humantraffickinghotline.org.

The first season of En Boca Cerrada consists of 10 episodes that are available on Uforia. The first nine episodes can be heard on all other podcast platforms. The second season of En Boca Cerrada is currently in production.

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